It's your Electric Scotland newsletter meaning
the weekend is nearly here :-)
You can view what's new this week on Electric Scotland at
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this newsletter by clicking on the link at the foot of this newsletter.
See our Calendar of Scottish Events around the world at
Electric Scotland News
Scotland on TV
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Good Words - Edited by the Rev Norman MacLeod
Rolphin's Orb - A Children's Story
Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland in 1876
Book of Scottish Story
History of the County of Bruce
History of Ulster
The Isle of Skye
Scottish KTs made the Grade for International Membership
ELECTRIC SCOTLAND NEWS
Well the new advertising has bit the dust as they say. I just didn't see any
sensible adverts and I found them rather annoying so have taken them off the
site. Thanks for putting up with them for a couple of weeks :-)
I was away in Toronto... left Monday morning so I could attend that Scottish
event on the Monday... the one I wasn't sure if I should attend or not. I
also had another meeting on the Wednesday evening so just stayed through for
that and so got back home in the early afternoon of Thursday.
As to the Monday Scottish event... I hardly know what to say about it. I
have no earthly idea what this meeting was meant to achieve. You'd think the
Scottish Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism would have lots to say
but to be frank I can't even remember what he said it made so much of an
impression on me. Many people told me after the event that they had no idea
what the meeting was for or what it was meant to have achieved.
Certainly we enjoyed some good food and drink and were able to have a chat
with some old and new friends but that was about it. It was as if the
speakers on the night were irrelevant and just some background noise. In
fact only Graeme Morton, the chair of the Center for Scottish Studies,
actually stood out by asking us all to join the Scottish Studies Foundation.
Certainly none of the others asked us for anything.
I certainly got the impression that they wanted to emulate Ireland in that
the Irish have been very successful in getting their Diaspora to donate
large sums to Irish projects. The difference is that Scotland just doesn't
know how to go about it and it also seemed they really didn't know much of
what they might do with the money if they got it. Some talk of bringing over
a theatre group but that was about it.
The venue was not well organised... dark blue lighting which made it hard to
recognise people, not enough chairs for people to sit. The food that was
there didn't make the rounds very well and so some got lots of food and
others very little.
Everything very vague and a total waste of time and money in my opinion. It
seemed like they brought in some people specially for the event. I did meet
Alan Bain from I think it's the Scottish American Foundation or something
similar. Why he was invited to a Canadian event I'm not sure. I was actually
quite depressed at the end of the meeting as I just felt the Scots had let
And so for better or worse that's my brief report on the evening and I guess
having said all that I won't be invited to any more of these :-)
As to future work on Electric Scotland (and am I happy to be concentrating
on our history!) I'll be bringing you two new books...
Ocean to Ocean
This book is mostly made up of a diary recorded by the Rev. Grant, Secretary
to Sanford Fleming, the Scottish Chief Engineer of the Canadian Pacific
Railway. As he notes in his preface...
Travel a thousand miles up a great river; more than another thousand along
great lakes and a succession of smaller lakes; a thousand miles across
rolling prairies; and another thousand through woods and over three great
ranges of mountains, and you have travelled from Ocean to Ocean through
Canada. All this Country is a single Colony of the British Empire; and this
Colony is dreaming magnificent dreams of a future when it shall be the
"Greater Britain," and the highway across which the fabrics and products of
Asia shall be carried, to the Eastern as well as to the Western sides of the
Atlantic. Mountains were once thought to be effectual barriers against
railways, but that day has gone by; and, now that trains run between San
Francisco and New York, over summits of eight thousand two hundred feet, it
is not strange that they should be expected soon to run between Victoria and
Halifax, over a height of three thousand seven hundred feet. At any rate, a
Canadian Pacific Railway has been undertaken by the Dominion; and, as this
book consists of notes made in connection with the survey, an introductory
chapter may be given to a brief history of the project.
Fascinating historical account which I hope you'll enjoy and I intend to
start on this next week.
The other book is...
Sketches of The Character, Manners, and Present State of the Highlanders of
Scotland; with details of The Military Service of The Highland Regiments
By Major-General David Stewart and published in 1825.
In part of his introduction he says...
I did not, indeed, expect that my knowledge of the subject would enable me
to extend my statement to greater length, especially as I had kept no
journal, and had never even been in the habit of taking any notes or
memorandums of what I had heard or seen: but as I proceeded, I found that I
knew more, and had a better recollection of circumstances, than I was
previously aware of, although, in the multiplicity of facts I have had to
state, some inaccuracies may afterwards be discovered. I had, indeed,
possessed considerable advantages. Several old officers of great
intelligence belonged to the regiment when I joined it. One of these had not
been a week absent from the day he entered in the year 1755. His wife, too,
who was a widow when he married her, had joined the regiment with her first
husband in the year 1744, and had been equally close in her attendance,
except in cases where the presence of females was not allowed. She had a
clear recollection of much that she had seen and heard, and related many
stories and anecdotes with the animated and distinct recitation of the
Highland senachies. Another officer, of great judgment, and of a most
accurate and retentive memory, had joined the regiment in the year 1766; and
a third in 1769. I had also the advantage of being acquainted with several
Highland gentlemen who had served as private soldiers in the regiment when
first organized. The information I received from these different sources,
together with that which I otherwise acquired, led me on almost insensibly
till the narrative extended to such length, that I had some difficulty in
compressing the materials into their present size.
This book does have a huge number of footnotes with many going over two or
even three pages. As it happens the footnotes are mostly wee stories in
themselves. I hope to start this one in the next couple of weeks. It is a
two volume publication.
ABOUT THE STORIES
Some of the stories in here are just parts of a larger story so do check out
the site for the full versions. You can always find the link in our "What's
New" section at the link at the top of this newsletter and pick up poems and
stories sent into us during the week from Donna, Margo, Stan, John and
Scotland on TV
Visit their site at
Scotland on TV has had an overhaul this week and now has a new look. We’ve
been upgraded by Roo to an amazing new player which allows for much better
navigation through the many videos we now have on the channel - and, as we
changed the channel names, it seemed a good opportunity to refresh the whole
look of the site. We’re still at the same address
www.scotlandontv.tv, so please take
a look around our new ‘home’ and let us know your thoughts – our email is
If you’re already familiar with Scotland on TV, you’ll notice that all your
favourite content is still there – it’s just a little easier to find now as
we have added more channels. And, of course, we’re still adding new content
all the time. If you’re not already registered for our newsletter, do sign
up and we’ll email you to let you know what’s new.
One great new feature is the ‘My Playlist’ option. As you browse the menus
on the player, click ‘add to playlist’ and then sit back, relax and watch
your own hand-picked selection.
Coming very soon will also be the option to submit your own Scotland-related
videos to the channel. So, make sure you get your camcorders out when you’re
out and about visiting Scotland, at a Highland Gathering or other Scottish
event and you could feature on Scotland on TV yourself!
THE FLAG IN THE WIND
This weeks Flag is compiled by Donald Bain where he seems to have just one
thing in mind which is to bash the outgoing Liberal leader... actually after
that Scottish meeting I was hoping for something uplifting and positive :-)
In Peter's cultural section he talks about Halloween...
There were two occasions in the year when bairns in Scotland traditionally
went guising - Halloween and Hogmany ( this custom has now died out ). We
are now nearing Halloween and can expect Guisers to come chapping on the
door - not begging, but merely "thigging"; that is, soliciting gifts on
special occasions. Apples, nuts and copper coins ( now silver! ) were the
appropriate gift to "help the guisers". In her splendid book "Halloween" the
late F Marion McNeill, one-time Vice-President of the Scottish National
Party and well known Scottish cookery writer, explains the origin of this
'Halloween or All Hallows' Eve ( October 31 ), appears in the Christian
Calendar at the festival of All Saints, which commemorates the "blessed
dead" who have been canonised. But how comes it, you may ask, that a solemn
religious festival is associated with bonfires, guisers, witches, ducking
for apples, burning hazel-nuts and such-like ploys?
The answer is quite simple. It was the policy of the early Christian Church
to graft a Christian festival upon each pagan one, so as to disturb the
customs of the people as little as possible; and, just as they grafted
Christmas, the feast of the Nativity, upon Yule, the great festival of the
Nordic peoples that celebrated the winter solstice, so they grafted
Halloween upon the ancient Celtic festival of Samhuinn ( pronounced
approximently Sah'-win ), which marked the entry of the Celtic year........
The religion of Scotland at the coming of the first Christian missionaries
was Druidism, a form of sun-worship peculiar to the Celtic peoples. The
doctrines of the Druids were secret. They were never written down, but were
committed to memory, generation after generation, by the priestly caste. But
the rites were public, and many survived as folk-customs for centuries after
their original significance was forgotten. Some survive to this day as
Next week we will look at some of the ploys and games associated with
Halloween and towards that end you might consider enjoying one of the
splendid dishes with Halloween significance - Cloutie Dumpling. Mind you, it
is a treat at any time of the year!
Ingredients: 12 oz flour ( or half flour and half breadcrumbs ); 6 oz
shredded beef suet; 6 oz moist sugar; 4 oz currants; 4 oz sulanas; 2
teaspoons ground cinnamon or mixed spices; 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda; 1
egg ( optional ); buttermilk or thick sour milk to mix.
Method: Mix the dry ingredients together in a basin. Stir in enough
buttermilk to make a rather thick batter - that is, one of dropping
consistency. Dip a pudding-cloth into boiling water. Wring it out, then
dredge lightly with flour and sink it into a bowl large enough to hold the
mixture. Spoon in the batter. ( The bowl will give it a round shape, like a
dumpling. ) Gather up the cloth, making sure that the folds are evenly
distributed. Tie up tightly with string, leaving room for the dumpling to
swell ( about one quarter of total bulk ). Place an old thick plate in the
bottom of a large pan. Lift the dumpling on to it, and pour in boiling water
to cover. Cover closely, replenishing the water when necessary. Boil for
about three hours. Untie and turn out carefully on to a heated serving-dish.
When removing the cloth, take care not to break the "skin". Dredge with
castor sugar and serve with hot custard sauce.
Note - The spice may be varied to taste, and oatmeal may be substituted for
breadcrumbs. The dumpling is very good made with ale instead of milk, an egg
being added and the spice omitted.
You can read the Flag, listen to the Scots Language, enjoy the Scots Wit and
lots more at
The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.
Onto the K's with King, Kinghorn, Kingston and Kinniard
Here is how the account of King starts...
KING, a surname which, according to Douglas (Peerage, vol. i. p. 557) is of
great antiquity in Scotland. A family of this name were in possession of
Barra or Barracht, parish of Bourtie, Aberdeenshire, from an early period;
“Robertus dictus King” is party to a charter temp. Alexander II. (1247),
with the prior and convent of St. Andrews, who also held lands in the same
parish. In the 16th and 17th centuries the family also acquired the lands of
Birness and Dudwick, in Buchan. Among the successive residents in the old
house of Dudwick (only recently pulled down), was General James King, a
celebrated soldier under Gustavus Adolphus in the Thirty-years’-war.
Subsequently, during the civil war of England, he was second in command of
the northern army of Charles I., by whom he was created Lord Eythen, 28th
March 1642. In addition it may be said here that after the battle of
Marston-moor, 2d July 1644, he embarked at Scarborough for the continent,
with his superior in command, the marquis of Newcastle, and other noblemen,
disgusted at Prince Rupert’s rash and obstinate tactics. Returning to
Sweden, his past services to that crown were rewarded by Queen Christina’s
conferring upon him, in addition to the order of knighthood received in
1639, a Swedish peerage under the title of Lord Sanshult, in the province of
Calmar. He died in 1652, aged 63; and was buried at Stockholm, in the
Riddarhohns church, the usual burial-place of Swedish royalty and nobility;
being honoured by a public funeral, Queen Christina attending in person. As
he left no surviving male issue, both Scottish and Swedish titles became
extinct. In his will, dated April 10, 1651, he bequeathed his property to
the children of his brothers in succession, urging them to endeavour to
obtain the restoration of his titles and honours, which however was never
done. (Vide Eythen.) Barra, is now the property of Ramsay of Straloch. A
portrait of the general, a duplicate of one still preserved in Sweden, is in
possession of Major W. Ross King, Aberdeen.
You can read the rest of this entry at
You can read the other entries at
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Have made a start at this huge publication which will likely be with us for
a few years. The first volume I am dealing with is the one on Aberdeen.
There are some 85 parishes in this volume and a write up on each.
This week have added...
Added the Parish of Towie at
and the Parish of Alford at
Here is a bit about Alford...
A magnificent and exceedingly varied view is obtained from the summit of
Callievar. Immediately under the eye of the spectator there is seen the
richly cultivated and ornamented vale of Alford on the east, traversed by
the clear river Don, and bounded at the opposite end by the rocky-summited
Benochie. On the west, close at hand, are the contiguous cultivated valleys
of Kildrummy and Towie, with the remains of their two ancient castles
celebrated in history and song. On the south, the eye obtaining many peeps
into cultivated valleys near at hand, commands in the re mote distance a
splendid range of sixty miles of the loftiest Grampians, extending westwards
from the shore of the Mearns, and including Mount Bettach, Mount Keen,
Lochnagar, Benmuckduie, Benavon, and Cairngorm. On the north, it commands
much of the varied surface of Aberdeenshire in that direction, with views of
the Moray Frith and German Ocean beyond.
General Character of the People.—As to their general character, it cannot be
spoken of otherwise than in terms of commendation. They are persons whose
understandings are practically sound, and enlarged and cultivated by that
perpetual exercise of them, to which the infinitely diversified nature and
circumstances of their rural pursuits, often requiring the nicest delicacy
of judgment in conducting them, afford a constant excitement. They are not
destitute of a serviceable share of that knowledge which is derived from
letters; but, with regard to their worldly affairs, experience may be called
the great guide of their life.
Their moral qualities are of a yet higher order. They are assiduously
industrious, temperate in their desires and enjoyments, affectionate in
their families, careful of the education of their children, friendly and
obliging to one another, liberal to the poor without the slightest
ostentation, and sincere and upright in their dealings with strangers. These
qualities secure a peaceable and orderly neighbourhood, where any necessity
for the interference of the civil magistrate is almost unknown. A law-plea
is an event of the rarest occurrence; and neither tradition nor record
states that any inhabitant, native of the parish, was ever accused before a
These moral qualities, so beneficial to the individual and the present order
of society, have their permanent root in a deep and steady principle of
religion; and the same wise practical discretion which regulates their
worldly affairs is also a characteristic of their religion. There is
perceived among them no loquacious parade of religious knowledge, no
casuistical disputation, no delight in controversy, and none of that
ostentatious display of piety which is forbidden to a Christian; but they
who know them most intimately, know also, that a constant feeling of their
dependence upon God, and responsibility to him, rendered active by the
promises and hopes of Christianity, directs the general tenor of their life.
Happily, the demoralizing practice of smuggling never found its way into the
parish: and poaching is unknown.
You can read the rest of this account at
On the index page of this volume you can see a list of the 85 parishes and
also a map at
Good Words - 1860 Edition
Edited by Rev. Norman MacLeod
You should note that as this is a weekly publication you'll find larger
articles are continued week by week.
This week have added articles on...
"Herein is Love" (Page 136)
The Fate of Franklin (Pages 137-139)
Jonah and Paul at Sea (Pages 140 - 142)
Incident at the Deathbed of an Old Scottish Worthy (Page 142)
Pencil Marks in a Book of Devotion (Page 143)
Good Words for Every Day in the Year (Pages 143 -144)
Visiting the Poor (Pages 145 - 146)
Here is the Incident at the Deathbed of an Old Scottish Worthy for you to
"I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous
forsaken, nor his seed begging-bread."—Psalm: xxxvii. 25.
"A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many
wicked."—Psalm xxxvii. 16.
John Bow was the first Protestant minister of Perth, and was as
distinguished for scholarship as for zeal and ability in the discharge of
his spiritual duties. He revived the study of Greek, and is said to have
been the first who introduced a knowledge of the Hebrew language into
Scotland. During a long residence abroad, he had acquired a knowledge of
these, the languages in which the Scriptures were originally written, and on
returning to his native country was anxious that they should be more
generally known, and that young men training for the ministry should
especially consider them a necessary part of their education. Under his
auspices, the Grammar School at Perth became one of the most celebrated in
the kingdom, and many of the young noblemen and gentlemen sent there for
their education boarded with Mr Row. At family worship, the passage of
Scripture, if from the Old Testament, was read in Hebrew; and if from the
New Testament, in Greek. At his death he left a numerous family poorly
provided for. His grandson, the historian, has recorded an anecdote which is
interesting as throwing light on the circumstances of the family, and as
manifesting the humble yet confident reliance of the dying father on the
guardian care of the all-bountiful Provider. It cannot be better given than
in his own words:—
"There was," he says, "a remarkable passage in his sickness, a little before
his death. The master of the Grammar Scule, commonlie callit Domine Rynd,
cam to visit him, and, among other things, he said, 'Sir, ye hae mony sma'
bairns, and, alas! ye hae but little or nae gear to leave them. What will
become of them? I fear they may beg through the country. Sir, ye have not
been careful to gather gear to them, as weil ye micht, both at Rome and
since ye cam to Scotland.'
"Mr John Row, turning himself to the wall, lay silent a prettie space,
pouring out his soul to God. Thereafter, turning himself again, he says:—
'''Domine, I have been thinking upon that ye were speaking to me. I will not
justifie myself, nor say that I have been careful enough to gather gear for
my bairns. I think I might and ought to have done mair that way than I have
done. But, Domine, I have laid ower my bairns upon God and the weil-ordered
covenant, for we must lippen much to the old charter, "The Lord will
provide." But, Domine, let me, time about, speak to you. Ye hae but ae son,
and ye hae great riches to give him; and ye mak a god o' your gear; and ye
think o' but your only son—"My son," say ye, "he will have enough." But,
Domine, it fears me, you hae little credit, and far less comfort by him;
yea, it may be, that when my bairns, whom I have laid ower upon God's
gracious and all-sufficient providence, may have competence in the world,
your son may have much mister, and be beholden to some of mine; for it is
God's blessing that maketh rich.'"
And the event, says the quaint narrator, did speak the fulfilling of the
prophecy of the dying servant of Jesus Christ. Mr How's family were all well
provided for. Five out of his six sons became ministers, and were all famous
in their day; and of his two daughters, one was married to the minister of
Longforgan, and the other to Mr William Big, a rich merchant in Edinburgh,
of whom "cam a numerous offspring and posterity of many rich people." "And
Domine Rynd his onlie rich son was .... a verie profane and dissolute man,
given to drunkenness and many evil vices, so that he became verie poore, and
in his own time was forced, for povertie, to sell his bukes to Mr John Bow,
schoolmaster in Perth, grandson to him who uttered the prophecy; and, after
his death, his wife, for povertie, turned ane gangrel woman, selling some
sma' wares, and was often refreshed with meat and drink in the houses of Mr
So says the story. In accordance with the common belief of that period, it
calls the saying of the dying minister "a prophecy," but it did not need a
prophet to foretell, either that vice and drunkenness bring a family to
beggary, or that God will provide for the children of His servants who put
their trust in Him. In this view of it, the anecdote is but another
fulfilment of the gracious promise, "Leave thy fatherless children, I will
preserve them alive; and let thy widows trust in me."
You can read the other articles at
Many of you will remember us adding this 12 book story from Margo Fallis.
Well she has now added a 13th book called "The Beginning" to give an
introduction to how the series came about.
We have the first 5 chapters up for this 13th book at
Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland
Am adding a variety of articles from this publication and this week have
On the Agriculture of the County of Argyll
On the Management of Plantations
I will say that the account of the Agriculture of the County of Argyll is
huge but most interesting. I also noted on a personal point of view the
number of M'Intyre's that had farms in this area.
Here is how it starts...
The county of Argyll formed one of the seven provinces into which Scotland
was divided in ancient times. It was known under the various names of "Oirir
Alban," "Oirir Ghaidheal," "Ergadia," "Aire Ghaidheal," and extended at one
time as far north as Loch Broom. These boundaries were continued
ecclesiastically up to nearly the middle of the seventeenth century. when
the Synod of Glenelg, previously forming part of that of Argyll, was
disjoined and raised into a separate court. The present boundaries, both of
county and synod, are as follows, viz., on the north, Inverness-shire; on
the south and west, the Atlantic Ocean; and on the east, Perthshire,
Dumbartonshire and the Firth of Clyde. Its latitude is 55° 15' to 56° 55'
north and longitude 4° 32' to 6° 6' west. The extreme length is 115 miles;
breadth, 68 miles, measuring from the Perthshire boundary to the back of
Mull. Its area is 2735 square miles of mainland, with 1063 of insular
surface; in all, 3798, or about one-tenth of the area of all Scotland. It
presents a combination of grandeur and picturesque beauty rarely surpassed
in any region of the earth.
This county is remarkable not only for extent of surface and variety of
scenery, but it holds a proud place alike in the civil and ecclesiastical
history of Scotland. It is the cradle of the sovereign race, which, from the
ninth to the seventeenth century, reigned over Scotland, first at Scone,
then in Edinburgh, and subsequently, in the person of James VI., added the
sovereignty both of England and Ireland, and is so nobly represented by
Kenneth M'Alpin, the first king of united Scotland, was unquestionably of
the Dalriadic stock. The succeeding sovereigns, merging in the Stuart
dynasty, all reigned in virtue of their connection, nearer or more remote,
with him; and it is needless to add that the house of Brunswick reigns
through its connection with the Stuarts.
In regard to ecclesiastical matters Iona was the luminary, not of the
Caledonian regions only, but shed the light of the Gospel over all the
north-east coast of Scotland and the north of England, and rightly' commands
more reverence than any other spot in the county.
Our scope does not lead us to deal with the ancient 'history of the country,
but it may be briefly mentioned that in a.d. 503, a small band of Scots from
Ulster in Ireland settled in Argyllshire, and there established a kingdom
known as Dalriada, which embraced the whole northern part of the county, as
well as some of the islands still belonging to it. This Dalriada, after
maintaining a lengthened conflict with the northern Picts or Caledonians,
seems to have been overthrown by these in the eighth century. The history of
the succeeding hundred years is extremely obscure; but when the light again
dawns, it shows us, as already referred to, Kenneth M'Alpin,—a Scot by
paternal descent, but to all appearance a northern Pict by maternal
connection,—who, without opposition, reigns over the northern Picts, as well
as over the Dalriadii, and eventually unites the greater part of modern
Scotland under his sway.
In the twelfth century Somerled, known in his early days as Somhairle Mac
Gille Bride na h-uamha, Somerled, son of Gille Bride of the Cave, was
afterwards well known as Lord of Argyll. The designation above mentioned
shows that his father, though . called Lord of Argyll, had been so stripped
of his possessions as to be obliged to take refuge in a cave; and this was
caused by the repeated invasions of the Norsemen or Scandinavians. Somerled
began his career with a small following of the clan Innes in Morven, and
soon subjected to himself both the southern and northern Hebrides.
Thereafter he boldly stood out against innovations attempted to be
introduced into Scotland by Malcolm IV, and .refused to acknowledge that
king as his sovereign. The descendants of Somerled were known for a longtime
as Lords of the Isles. They claimed sovereign rights, and entered into
treaties with England as independent princes. All the families of Macdonald
claim descent from Somerled, and while the chiefship has often been the
subject of dispute among them, it is certain that Macdougall of Lorn is the
lineal descendant of Dugald, a son of Somerled.
You can read the balance of this account at
You can get to the other articles at
Book of Scottish Story
Kindly sent in to us by John Henderson
The Book of Scottish Story - Historical, Humorous, Legendary, Imaginative
by Standard Scottish Writers Published by Thomas D. Morison, 1896
This week we have...
Adam Bell and here is how it starts...
By James Hogg, the "Ettrick Shepherd."
This tale, which may be depended on as in every part true, is singular, from
the circumstance of its being insolvable, either from the facts that have
been discovered relating to it, or by reason ; for though events sometimes
occur among mankind, which at the time seem inexplicable, yet there being
always some individuals acquainted with the primary causes of these events,
they seldom fail of being brought to light before all the actors in them, or
their confidants, are removed from this state of existence. But the causes
which produced the events here related have never been accounted for in this
world; even conjecture is left to wander in a labyrinth, unable to get hold
of the thread that leads to the catastrophe.
Mr Bell was a gentleman of Annandale, in Dumfriesshire, in the south of
Scotland, and proprietor of a considerable estate in that district, part of
which he occupied himself. He lost his father when he was an infant, and his
mother dying when he was about 20 years of age, left him the sole proprietor
of the estate, besides a large sum of money at interest, for which he was
indebted, in a great measure, to his mother's parsimony during his minority.
His person was tall, comely, and athletic, and his whole delight was in
warlike and violent exercises. He was the best horseman and marksman in the
county, and valued himself particularly upon his skill in the broad sword.
Of this he often boasted aloud, and regretted that there was not one in the
county whose skill was in some degree equal to his own.
In the autumn of 1745, after being for several days busily and silently
employed in preparing for his journey, he left his own house, and went to
Edinburgh, giving at the same time such directions to his servants as
indicated his intention of being absent for some time.
A few days after he had left his home, one morning, while his housekeeper
was putting the house in order for the day, her master, as she thought,
entered by the kitchen door, the other being bolted, and passed her in the
middle of the floor. He was buttoned in his greatcoat, which was the same he
had on when he went from home; he likewise had the same hat on his head, and
the same whip in his hand which he took with him. At sight of him she
uttered a shriek, but recovering her surprise, instantly said to him, "You
have not stayed so long from us, Sir." He made no reply, but went sullenly
into his own room, without throwing off his greatcoat. After a pause of
about five minutes, she followed him into the room. He was standing at his
desk with his back towards her. She asked him if he wished to have a fire
kindled, and afterwards if he was well enough; but he still made no reply to
any of these questions. She was astonished, and returned into the kitchen.
You can read the rest of this story at
The index page of the book where you can read the other stories is at
The History of Bruce County
By Norman Robertson, published in 1906
This week sees us adding histories of the various townships and villages...
Township of Kincardine
Town of Kincardine
Township of Kinloss
Village of Lucknow
Township of Saugeen
Village of Port Elgin
Town of Southampton
Which you can see at
Here is a bit from the Village of Lucknow...
[The village of Lucknow bears the name of the city in India around which so
much interest centred in the days of the Indian Mutiny, which was fresh in
the minds of all at the time of the survey of the village. A number of its
streets are named after prominent generals in the Indian Army.]
The present thriving village of Lucknow owes its origin to an offer made by
the government of a grant of two hundred acres of land to any one who would
erect a mill on the Nine-Mile River near the spot where it crossed the
Woolwich and Huron Road, which road forms the boundary line between Kinloss
and Wawanosh. This offer was closed with by J. Eli Stauffer, a German from
Waterloo County, mentioned in the preceding chapter as one of the first
settlers on the Durham Road in the township of Kinloss. It was in 1856-57
that Mr. Stauffer erected the dam and sawmill. The latter could hardly be
called a first-class mill, but it supplied a much-felt need of the adjoining
townships in Huron and Bruce. One of the first to settle near the mill was
Ralph Miller, who in April, 1858, purchased a small parcel of land from Mr.
Stauffer, on which he built a log tavern, that went by the name of the
"Balaclava House." James Somerville, [James Somerville was born at
Dunfermline, Scotland, in 1825 and came to Canada in 1841, with his parents,
who settled at Dundas. He there learned the trade of a millwright. In 1851
he moved to Wawanosh and built a sawmill, between what is now Belfast and
St. Helens Mr Somerville, in 1858, secured Mr. Stauffer's mill and right to
the land' From that date he continued to be associated with Lucknow until
his death which occurred September 19th, 1898. In 1872 he was the Reform
candidate for the House of Commons for North Huron, but was defeated In 1882
he again was a candidate, this time for West Bruce, and was successful Mr.
Somerville also sat in the township councils of Wawanosh and Kinloss.] who
deservedly is entitled to be called the founder of the village, was probably
living there at the time the agreement for this sale was drawn out, as his
name appears thereon as witness to the signatures. During the summer of 1858
Mr. Somerville, having purchased from Mr. Stauffer the mill and his right to
the land, had the south halves of lots 57, 58, 59 and 60 on the first
concession of Kinloss surveyed into village lots. The date of the
registering of this plan is September 21st, 1858. [It seems strange that the
Crown patent was not secured before the survey was made. It was April 2nd,
1862, before the patent for the south halves of 57 and 58 was issued to M.
C. Cameron, and March 23rd, 1863, when the patent for the south halves of 59
and 60 was issued to James Somerville.] This plan shows both a saw and a
grist mill, the latter built, in all probability, that summer by Mr.
Somerville. On September 1st, 1858, the village lots were offered at
auction, and the ceremony of naming the place was celebrated by a salute of
twenty-one—we cannot say guns—but of explosions of that number of charges of
gunpowder, placed in large auger-holes bored in good-sized trees standing in
the village plot. The survey of the village lots on the Ashfield and
Wawanosh side of the village [It was in October, 1854, that the lands in
Ashfield and Wawanosh, now in the village of Lucknow, were settled upon by
Daniel Webster and James Henderson respectively.] was not made until the
early spring of 1861.
The first merchant in Lucknow was Malcolm Campbell, who commenced business
in 1859. He was also the first postmaster, the post-office being established
shortly after he came to the village. Other merchants, foreseeing the
possibilities of development at this point, opened up business shortly after
Mr. Campbell had done so. Half a dozen years after the post-office was
established the following were carrying on business as merchants at Lucknow:
In addition to Malcolm Campbell there was Walter Armstrong, Bingham &
Little, Alex. Murray, Charles Secord and John Treleaven. The grist and
sawmills were then being operated by Walter Treleaven and Messrs. Lees &
Douglas ran a wool-carding mill. The population was then (1866) placed at
430. The village received quite an impetus in the same year from the
construction of the gravel road northward through the township of Kinloss,
which had the effect of bringing to Lucknow much of the trade of the
township that had previously gone to Kincardine. The next forward step of
note made by the village was the result of the opening of the railway in
1873. No doubt the business men of the village have complained loudly and
deeply at the poor service that the railway has given them at times; but it
should be borne in mind that it is the railway that has made Lucknow a grain
market, and the shipping point for the produce of the farms situated for
miles north and south of the village. It also has given the shipping
facilities which induced manufacturers to there establish factories. In
fact, it is the railway which has made Lucknow the flourishing village of
The initial step taken with a view to Lucknow becoming a separate
municipality was made in December, 1863, when, on petition of James
Somerville and twenty-three others, the United Counties Council erected it
into a police village.
You can read the rest of this chapter at
And the other chapters at
The History of Ulster
From the Earliest Times to the Present Day by Ramsay Colles (1919)
This week have added another 7 chapters to the first volume...
O'Neill, Prince of Ulster
An Able Viceroy
The New Legislation
Progress of Ulster
The Geraldine Revolt
The Submission of Ulster
Here is a bit from "The Submission of Ulster"...
With the fall of the FitzGeralds, the victory of Bellahoe, and the vigorous
rule of Lord Leonard Gray, whose progress through the south was as
triumphant as it had been in the north, Ireland felt herself in the grip of
a master's hand. "Irishmen", wrote one of the Lords Justices to Thomas
Cromwell, "were never in such fear as now." Not only were the Englishmen of
the Pale at Henry's feet, but the power of the Crown was acknowledged
through the length and breadth of the land.
Henry's desire, however, was, as we have seen in his wise and generous
directions to Surrey, not so much to conquer the country as to civilize it
when conquered. The King's standard of civilization was the English
standard, and Irish ideas and Irish methods he dismissed as not only
unworthy of consideration, but as being relics of the barbarism which he was
anxious to eradicate. Accordingly English statesmen set themselves to the
task of destroying the whole Celtic tradition of the Irish people, and
substituting for it rules and regulations by the enforcement of which they
fondly hoped to succeed in "making Ireland English", in manners, in law, and
The King, it will be remembered, in his instructions to Surrey, directed him
to call together the Irish chieftains, or as many as he could succeed in
getting together, and then expatiate to them upon the elementary principles
of social order and government. This scheme Henry appears to have never lost
sight of, and he resolved, now that he had proved to the Irish chieftains
the power of England, they should be impressed by the urbanity she displayed
as the victor. He cherished the hope that in time, by the exercise of a wise
patience, he would win over the Irish chiefs, and, by combining friendliness
with firm rule, gradually reform the country. Recognizing that in the tribal
system of land tenure lay the source of many of Ireland's miseries, he
resolved to allay any fears the chiefs might entertain that the Crown had
any purpose to "expel them from their lands and dominions lawfully
possessed", by giving them an undertaking "to conserve them as their own".
The introduction of English law, against which they had remonstrated, was
reconsidered, with the result that the course of justice was enforced or
mitigated according to the circumstances of the country. In short, "sober
ways, politic shifts, and amiable persuasions" were enjoined, and were so
thoroughly carried out that chieftain after chieftain was won over in an
incredibly short space of time, considering the centuries which had been
devoted to a hopeless and futile policy of coercion.
You can read the whole chapter at
The rest of the chapters can be read at
The Isle of Skye
I noted in the 1875 edition of Good Words there was an account of the Isle
of Skye so thought I'd add that to the site and here is how the account
IT is difficult for a man to speak about his mother or the lady of his love,
without either saying less than he feels, or saying more than other people
can sympathize with. If, therefore, I should seem to speak with
over-fondness of the Isle of Skye, let the excuse be that I was born there.
The great blue mass of the Coolin, [It has become the fashion to call these
the Cuchullin Hills, and it is hardly worth while to insist that it is a
mistake, the name being a good and sonorous one if rightly pronounced. But
the native name is The Coolin, without any addition, like The Caucasus, The
Balkan, The Himalaya. The Gaelic name is Cuilfhionn, pronounced Coolyun,
which has the advantage of being easier to say than Cuchuilin, there being
some people that cannot sound the ch, who therefore inevitably call these
mountains either Cuckoolin or Cutchullin.] with profile as clean cut and
memorable as a historical face, was photographed in my mind before the days
of Daguerre and Talbot, and the picture grows not dimmer but more distinct
every year. Still more difficult is it to forget the kindly human souls,
whose memories are associated with every green spot on which those great
hills look down.
Some people are naturally not fond of islands, regarding them more or less
as prisons, places not easy to get at, and sometimes still more difficult to
get out of. Thus a certain metaphysical friend of mine maintained, when we
were in Skye, the strange proposition that the sea is not so fine a horizon,
nor so illimitable in suggestion, as dry land! Even from a metaphysical
point of view, that seems to me absurd. But it so happens that my friend was
born and bred far out of sight of the boundless sea, while to me it happened
to be born so near it that I feel a natural brotherhood with sea-gulls and
Solan geese, and a liking for everything belonging to the sea, with the
exception of devil-fish, sharks, &c. For an island, simply as such, I
confess to as great a partiality as Sancho had. I never saw one yet, however
small, that was quite destitute of merit. There is always something of
originality about an island, were it the most barren rock man ever set his
foot on. It stands by itself, is self-contained, has its own distinct
character and boundaries, not made by man, or changeable by him. What would
Great Britain be if it were tacked on to the rest of Europe? It would be
Great Britain no longer. Is not Iceland, in spite of its horrible wildness
and cold, one of the most interesting bits of land in the world? And Ithaca?
And Patmos? And Iona? And Juan Fernandez? And St. Helena? Did not
Shakespeare, when he wished to invent a region for pure Imagination to work
in, put Prospero on an island ? Nothing but an island would suit for that
atmosphere of the supernatural which is the setting of the Tempest, and
makes it, of all his creations, the most perfectly ideal. The scenery of the
Midsummer Night's Dream is not so harmonious: you realise, in the midst of
all the fairies, that it is but a dream. But Caliban and Ariel are beings of
daylight, the natural inhabitants of that remote and isolated place.
Commend me, therefore, to an island; and of all islands, with the single
exception of the "adjacent island" of Great Britain, commend me to the Isle
of Skye! It's all very well for Professor Blackie to sing of Mull as
"The fairest isle that spreads
Its green folds to the sun in Celtic seas;"
and let Mull be thankful that she has got so eloquent a lover to sing her
praises. It was well to do so, considering that such a poet as the Ettrick
Shepherd was so far left to himself as to speak somewhere of
"The rude and shapless hills of Mull."
Set him up, indeed! Not to mention the majestic Ben More, there is no hill
to be seen from Mount Benger equal in beauty of form or colour to Ben Talla;
and, profane as it may seem, I would say that, but for association, St.
Mary's Loch itself is nothing to Loch Baa! If any doubt that, let them go
and see it.
You can read the rest of this at
Scottish KTs made the Grade for International Membership
As there is a fair bit of interest in the Knight Templars I thought you
might be interested in this press release...
28th April 2007, At the Historic Colonial City of Williamsburg, VA, USA, the
recently formed Commandery of St Clair, Scottish Knights Templar, achieved
Membership of the International Knights Templar Order, Ordo Supremus
Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani (OSMTH).
OSMTH is a Christian Chivalric Order, registered as a Non Governmental
Organisation in Switzerland and has been recognised by the United Nations
with Special Consultative Status. Its yearly conference was held over the
last few days in April with over 500 Knights and Dames from all over the
world in attendance.
Secretary of the Knights Templar in Scotland, Chevalier Paul McGowan GCTJ,
who resides in the Kingdom of Fife, was in attendance throughout the largest
Knight Templar convention in the last 200 years. “This event has been
historical in so many levels” Chev McGowan noted. “Being admitted to the
International Order has taken a number of years of hard work and dedication.
With the increase of United Nations delegations and duties we are looking
forward to supporting the work of the International Knights Templar Order,
OSMTH”. He continued “During the Grand Convent the Pakistani Ambassador to
the USA, His Excellency Mr. Mahmud Ali Durrani, was introduced as a Member
of the Order of Merit and the Right Reverend Dr Bishop Riah Abu Ei-Assal,
from Jerusalem, was introduced to the Chaplain Corps of the Order. These are
significant additions to the International Order that reflects the high
standards of the Order and its Advocacy, Humanitarian and International
Colonial Williamsburg itself has a strong historical background. Being one
of the first places that the English Colonised in America and being the
scene for a number of battles during the wars of the American Revolution.
Queen Elizabeth will be in attendance later on this week for the celebration
of the 400 years of its colonisation by the English.
As an added cause for celebration, Chev McGowan was promoted to the highest
rank of the Order, that of Grand Cross of the Temple of Jerusalem (GCTJ)
during the Grand Convent held in Bruton Parish Church, Williamsburg in front
of over 380 Knights and Dames. Chev McGowan added “I am very grateful that
our sponsor Order, the Grand Priory of France, decided to surprise me with
this promotion to the highest level possible at this Convent”. He gave
thanks to the Immediate Past Grand Prior of France, Dr Marcel De Picciotto,
who has supported the application of the Scottish Knights Templar Order in a
scene reminiscent of the Auld Alliance.
Chev Picciotto told us “We are Proud to be the Sponsor Order for the
Scottish Knights Templar. The fraternal relationship between France and
Scotland remains just as strong as it was in the 13th Century”.
The Grand Master of the International Knights Templar is USN Rear Admiral
(Retired) James J Carey GCTJ. He told us “We are very proud to have a
Professional and Committed Order join us from Scotland. Scotland has been
very important in the history of the Knights Templar and I am sure that
their continued growth and expansion in Scotland will be carried out with
our main objectives in mind, that of:
1. Supporting the Holy Lands and Christians at Risk.
2. Building bridges between all Christian faiths through the Senior Clergy
and reaching out to assist all the sons of Abraham.
3. Advocacy and Humanitarian Support through the local, national bodies and
our work with the United Nations.”
You can see the full release at
And that's all for now and hope you all have a good weekend :-)
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